You must have seen your parents or elder siblings wanting to get their wisdom teeth removed. Do you know why? We’ll tell you why.
You may not realize it, but a mystery is happening at the back corner of your mouth. Yes, you cracked it right. We are talking about the problematic wisdom teeth that clearly serve no purpose but rather cause pain and a LOT of pain till they get removed.
That brings out the question that ‘what are impacted wisdom teeth?’ Did you know that 90 percent of Americans developed at least one impacted tooth?
People who develop impacted wisdom tooth needs to get extracted to prevent infection and pain. Below we have detailed the symptoms, causes, and treatments of impacted wisdom teeth. If you are suffering from a similar condition, this guide is for you!
2-Second Summary - What does it mean if your wisdom teeth are impacted?
When a wisdom tooth (third molar) fails to erupt from the gums, it is referred to as an impacted wisdom tooth. Its symptoms include swollen gums, jaw pain, and general discomfort. That said, these symptoms are tolerable with the help of painkillers and antibacterial mouthwash.
Wisdom Tooth Described
Wisdom teeth are basically your third molars (the last set of teeth) that erupt at the very back corner of your mouth.
In rare cases, wisdom teeth grow properly and don’t cause any pain or trouble. However, in most cases, this doesn’t happen. In fact, the tooth gets trapped in your gums and fails to erupt. As a result, you experience extreme pain, cavities, or even gum diseases if not get removed on time.
That condition is particularly called ‘impacted wisdom teeth’. Those suffering from this condition are advised to consult a dentist on an immediate basis to prevent any infection.
What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
You may be wondering, what does it mean when your wisdom teeth are impacted? As said previously, an impacted wisdom tooth is a dental condition that happens when your wisdom tooth does not get enough space in the jawbone to erupt and get stuck under it. This type of condition can cause a threat to your overall oral health and cause severe health complications.
This is the reason why 85 percent of Americans get their wisdom teeth removed. To learn more about the symptoms, causes, and side effects of doing it, continue reading.
10 Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Typically, an impacted wisdom tooth does not show any signs or symptoms from the outside. However, the real game starts once it gets infected. Some of the common symptoms that you may experience could be
- Red or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Bad mouth
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Pain in the jaw
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Swollen face
The pain due to the impacted tooth is not consistent. It comes and goes and sometimes, it comes weeks or months after then the person knows the problem is still there. If you experience any of these symptoms, rush to your dentist, as it indicates an impacted wisdom tooth.
What causes Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth typically emerge between the ages of 17 to 25, but it is not set in stone. Some people even grow it in their early or late 30s.
The most common reason for impacted wisdom teeth is the lack of space in the jaw. The other reason could be, erupting at the wrong angle, pressuring the other teeth, and creating a host of other dental problems.
Types of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
It may sound strange, but impacted wisdom teeth have two kinds:
- Partially impacted tooth: A wisdom tooth that grows partially at the back of your mouth, resulting in some part of the tooth being visible, is called a partially impacted wisdom tooth.
- Fully impacted tooth: On the contrary, a fully impacted wisdom tooth is one that never grows out of the gums and stays in there.
Other angles at which a wisdom tooth can grow,
- Grow down perfectly like other teeth but remain trapped under the gum.
- Grow at the other teeth’s right angle, seeming like lying down under the jawbone.
- Grow towards the back of the mouth
- Grow towards the next tooth
Complications attached to Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Reasonably, an impacted wisdom tooth can trigger many dental problems, including serious ones.
- Gum Disease: This is more common with partially erupted impacted teeth as it makes it difficult to properly clean the gums and increases the risk of inflammatory gum disease called pericoronitis.
- Damage to other teeth: As we said earlier, if the wisdom tooth emerges in the wrong direction, it could induce pressure on the other teeth. As a result, it poses an infection threat to the second molars. Also, it can cause teeth crowding and may require a dentist’s intervention to straighten them up.
- Decay: A partially erupted wisdom tooth is at higher risk of tooth decay. Since they are difficult to clean, bacteria and food particles can easily get trapped there, leading to tooth and gum infections.
- Cysts: If the sac inside the jawbone where the wisdom tooth emerges is filled with fluid, hence, cyst formation occurs, which will eventually lead to damaged nerve and jawbone if not timely treated. In rare cases, a benign tumor may also develop, usually requiring bone and tissue removal.
When should you get an Impacted Wisdom Tooth removed?
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) that wisdom tooth that causes infection and disease must undergo removal. It also advises practitioners to surveil wisdom teeth in case of complications carefully.
Typically, dentists recommend getting a wisdom tooth extracted if it causes extreme pain and discomfort or poses threat to the jaw bone or adjacent teeth.
Treating asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth can be tricky as the practitioner couldn’t tell which one is causing the problem. That said, the tooth’s angle may give some clues as to how it will impact the other teeth.
Should All Wisdom Teeth be Removed?
In healthy cases, getting a wisdom tooth removed is unnecessary. However, it depends on your choice. If a wisdom tooth emerges healthily and properly, it is not needed to be extracted.
That said, many certified US practitioners suggest removing impacted wisdom teeth as a preventive measure against possible gum and tooth infections. In fact, an AAOMS review believes that having a third molar/wisdom tooth is more likely to trigger a worsened periodontal disease than not having one.
It is also suggested that a dentist extract a wisdom tooth if it hinders the development of nearby teeth. Earlier, a significant percentage of people used to get their wisdom teeth removed regardless of whether it caused problems.
Getting a wisdom tooth removed is an ongoing debate. In 2021, 28 percent of wisdom teeth went extracted. However, 76.4 percent had justifiable reasons for the extraction.
Wisdom teeth eruption is a natural and healthy process. While for some, it’s smooth and painless, for others, it can be extremely painful and traumatizing. You cannot stop impaction from occurring; however, being consistent with your dental checkups to monitor its growth and emergence will prevent you from medical emergencies.